Modernism Monday: “Live and Learn,” The Cardigans

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Every problem can be compartmentalized into bite-sized chunks.  You take care of the problem one chunk at the time.  Some chunks are fly-swattingly easy.  Other chunks are boulders.  None of this is news to you, Tune-Up fan.  But what’s news to me is that each individual problem chunk has a separate timeframe to solve.  That is the crux of the suck.  That is a new lesson for me.

I’m not a very patient person by nature.  I am goal-oriented, I am anxious, I dislike uncertainty, I want to know the future, and I put far too much mental energy into controlling how others perceive me.  I sometimes care more about being considered A Person Who Solves Problems Quickly than solving the problem at hand.  I’d rather have a guaranteed 70% solution now than a 100% solution in a little more time with maybe one or two variables out of my control.  It’s really weird and it gets in my way and it makes me nuts.  

One of the myriad benefits of getting older is that the cumulative experience of living longer and longer allows you to take the long view.  You can benchmark a bad day, a success, a heartbreak more accurately, having had more of them.  This context can cool you off and help you break apart problems into their components and attach importance and timeframe to each.  So, while I might be an anxious person today, I was a high-powered tension rod a few years ago: one slight readjustment could have me shooting off into space.  I’m grateful for the difficulties that have provided the necessary context to unwind myself.

The greatest thing I’ve learned, so far, is that once you’ve attached the timescale to each problem chunk and set your solutions in motion, the best and most Zen thing to do is just throw your hands up in the air and say “f$%& it.”  And I mean doing this literally – physically throwing your arms in the air and saying “f$%& it” out loud.  It feels wonderful.

Live and learn.

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